News

Woman murdered outside Jigger Shop in Mount Gretna

Written by Danielle Francisco/Lebanon Daily News | Sep 8, 2015 4:59 AM
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An unidentified man and woman leave flowers in front of the Emporium at Mt. Gretna hours after the owner, Stacey Pennington, was shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, Patrick Derr, who then turned the gun on himself. (Jeremy Long -- Lebanon Daily News)

(Mount Gretna) -- Police in Lebanon County are investigating a murder and attempted suicide after shots were fired in the 200 block of Gettysburg Avenue in Mount Gretna shortly before 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Police Chief Bruce Harris said Patrick Derr, 47, confronted Stacey Pennington, 46, outside of the Gretna Emporium gift shop, which she owned, before Pennington attempted to flee the scene. Derr then shot Pennington twice on the walking path between the gift shop and the Jigger Shop Ice Cream Parlor.

Derr then proceeded to wave his hands around the Jigger Shop at employees before sitting down on a bench near Pennington. He remained on the bench for some time before shooting himself in the head, according to Harris.

Neither the gift shop nor the Jigger Shop was open at the time. Staff for the Jigger Shop was present during the shooting as was other foot traffic in the community. There was no staff present at the Emporium besides Pennington.

Derr is believed to be an ex-boyfriend of Pennington, according to officials.

Pennington was pronounced dead at the scene according to Harris. Derr was air-lifted to Hershey Medical Center where he is in critical condition and on life support.

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Stacey Pennington (Submitted)

"Labor Day in Mt. Gretna is a busy time, it is pretty much the end of the season for Mt. Gretna and for the Jigger Shop which would have closed for the season after today," said Harris during a press conference, "The weather is nice, a lot of people were starting to come to the area so it would have been a busy day for the community."

Businesses in that section of the grounds remained closed for the day.

Kathy Snavely, publisher for This Week in Mt. Gretna, released a statement saying "The Jigger Shop and Mt. Gretna Emporium have closed for the season due to the shooting that occurred here this morning. We are grateful that this tragedy happened before both locations were open this morning and no one else was hurt. We would covet your thoughts and prayers for the families involved, as well as our community, as we deal with this issue - particularly the two young sons of our friend, Stacey Pennington, who was a very vibrant partner in summer activities. Her death is a tragic loss for all of us."

"[Pennington] was a person that a lot of people knew and had touched a lot of lives. This is a big loss for Mt. Gretna," said Lebanon County Coroner Jeffery Yocum.

"Regardless of what day of the year it happened this is a sad - a traumatic event for a community like Mt. Gretna, that is such a quiet resort type community that prides itself on the arts," said Harris, "Maybe if this was a bigger city people wouldn't be so shocked."

The Cornwall-Lebanon School district will have counselors available for any students or staff members affected by the incident said community relations coordinator Amy Wissinger, since some of the students at that school are employed in the Mt. Gretna businesses.

Pennington owned the Gretna Emporium for the last few years and also owned Resource Island and Emporium along West Penn Avenue in Cleona. The stores have signs that read "closed until further notice".

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A Protection From Abuse was ordered against Derr by Pennington previously. That PFA was still in effect.

According to Daily News records Derr had been charged with simple assault/domestic violence and harassment on December 31 2014 in relation to an incident where he struck his girlfriend. At that time Derr was placed in Lebanon County prison in lieu of $10,000 bail. Derr was scheduled for sentencing this Wednesday.

"I've been with the Cornwall police department for 40 years and I can tell you in my time with Cornwall we have never had a homicide in Cornwall Borough or West Cornwall Township. I remember about 25 years ago there was [one homicide] in Mt. Gretna Borough. This is very uncommon and very rare," said Harris.

Mt. Gretna currently has a full time population of about 268 people, according to police records.


This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF.

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